View Full Version : Sculling oar plans

09-19-2000, 09:15 PM
Hi all - I am looking for a sculling oar plan appropriate for a Folkboat (approximately 10' long). Any suggestions?


Ian McColgin
09-20-2000, 11:13 AM
I think I'd go a bit longer since you'll probably use it over the combing on one side, perhaps standing facing forward against a sheet whinch like a thole pin.

I'd size it by taking a 16' or so stick, stand comfortably with the stick in the water and hands at a good pushing height. Experiment a bit with whether you want more power by standing a bit beyond center of the cockpit. Also try to ensure that the oar is not getting too verticle. I like a less than 30 degree slope, myself.

Figure a nice long narrow blade, maybe 2'x 6" wide, so lop off all but 2' of the immersed portion of your stick and then see if on the return stroke you can easily get it clear of the water.

Make the grip long enough to get two hands on it. Let the loam inboard be pretty thick for balance but for this kind of sweep you don't need to beef it up with extra wood since the standing position gives you plenty of strength to pick up the oar from the water and you don't need the same concern with balance as small rowing oars.

What is nice is if you can get the oar to just about float with the blade immersed and your hand just keeping it from sliding off the combing.

As you taper the shaft outboard of the pivot point, take more off the verticle axis so it's an oval normal to the blade. Also makes sense to make the blade a shallow diamond shape so the center is thicker than the edges.

It's easy to row with only one pin if you learn to feather through the return stroke. The sweep naturally pulls away from the pin (or winch) on the return stroke but a feathering motion with the top of the oar rotating forward will resist that movement.

Start the feather as the oar starts up out of the water - gives the oar stroke a nice kick, and just feather gently and continuously through the whole return stroke. A bit less than a 1/4 turn in all since you want to have the blade at least slightly up of horizontal incase you catch a wave. You can unfeather as the oar goes in and you apply forward force.

It's very nautical once you get the hang of it. You'll be the talk of the harbour.


09-20-2000, 11:46 AM
Thanks for the insights, Ian.

There was a nice article by Eric Dow in WB (#127, 12/95) on making oars. It shows a 7' rowing oar, but it has the "diamond" profile you mentioned. Sounds like I can incorporate that and your comments.

Appreciate it!


Ben Fuller
09-20-2000, 10:17 PM
Do you want a real sculling oar? Single oar over the stern? If so a yuloh is where you will end up. WB did an article by Sam Manning some years ago that was based on one that I did for SBJ longer ago. It had yuloh plans. There are some in Roger Taylor's elements of seamanship. If you can't find it and are interested I can scan and send. Let me know off list.

09-21-2000, 06:43 AM
Yes, are you rowing or sculling? Rather different things.

Ian McColgin
09-21-2000, 08:25 AM
Good point about the distinction. I described a sweep as it's easier to make, stows flat, and the folkboat will move along propelled from one side if Jeff keeps one knee on the tiller. Also, he won't need any extra rowlock or anything. But a yuloh is a bit more powerful and convenient than a straight oar for sculling.

09-21-2000, 09:58 AM
Ben, I think your article ended up enshrined on the Internet:

Lots of great information!

09-21-2000, 10:22 AM
Thanks for all the commentary, gentlemen!

I do have in mind sculling from the stern. I already have nice sculling mount there. Even had a nice sculling oar, but lost it recently in a nice 25 knot race when it wasn't lashed down tight enough.